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What should i do to improve my english communication skills?

  1. May 30, 2014 #1
    Well many people in this forum suggested me to improve my English in many of my threads. So I am looking forward to do that. Should i read the whole dictionary? Which books should i start reading? I am also weak in grammar. One more thing I am also bad in my English handwriting. Well I have 2 months of holiday before the next semester starts off. So please tell me how should i use this time to improve my vocabulary. If there are also videos in English,please provide the link.:smile:
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 30, 2014 #2
    Reading the dictionary, that is, simply improving your vocabulary in such an artificial way will not help your communication, as using a handful of large words will just sound awkward. Honestly, I would recommend sitting down and reading some books. I don't mean textbooks, which are typically formal and focused on equations and numbers. Instead, I would just read some modern day books, Fiction or non Fiction as it does not really matter. For instance, you could read some Stephen King, Orson Scot Card, or Tolkein. This may sound strange, but I was able to score very well on the ACT English and reading sections as a result of my extensive reading background. Also, in my AP English course writing essays was a breeze, as my sentence fluency was already on point. Again, the type of literature is not important, so long as the books are written in modern English. With time I'm sure your familiarity with English and thus your sentence flow will improve. As for the handwriting, simply put pen to paper and write more.
    Source for grammar information: http://www.grammar-monster.com/
    TL DR: Read books, you will naturally gain confidence in your English skills! Only use the dictionary to look up unfamiliar words.
     
  4. May 30, 2014 #3

    verty

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    If you want something to read and reading on a monitor is not too terrible, try this: The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The grammar is very good and the story should be easy to follow. Although perhaps it is a bit boring or odd at times but it should help because it isn't too complicated. He was a famous philosopher who was almost totally self-absorbed, so it shouldn't be surprising that he wrote such a book.

    If you want a physical book, an option is one of the Maude translations of Tolstoy (some are online here). Maude's English is also very good so I recommend that as well.
     
  5. May 30, 2014 #4

    jbunniii

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    Reading the dictionary would be pointless, although it's good to refer to it if you aren't sure about the meaning of a word. If your goal is to improve your written English, then I agree with the others that reading is the best way to achieve this. It doesn't have to be a book - even a well written web site would be fine.

    Once upon a time I might have suggested reading a newspaper, but most of them are so poorly edited these days that they may actually degrade the reader's English. A happy exception to this is The Economist, which is still generally a model of clear writing.

    By the way, from what I have read of your posts, I don't think your English is all that bad. Your grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure could use some refinement, but I don't have any problem understanding you, unlike some posters I've read. :tongue: Your English is certainly adequate for posting here.
     
  6. May 30, 2014 #5

    SteamKing

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    Well, you could always read good English literature. This will introduce you to different styles of English writing, and you may get a chance to practice your English grammar some.

    I'm afraid that handwriting is something one must work on assiduously, whatever language you are writing in. It is a manual skill, after all, which demands constant practice for one to retain fluidity and clarity. I was never a big fan of handwriting personally, and I find extended periods of handwriting rather tiresome.

    If you want to get better at handwriting and English grammar simultaneously, you should probably start writing letters to English-speaking friends or keep a journal. If you read an article or story, write an essay about it or about some particular idea which interests you.
     
  7. May 30, 2014 #6
    To improve your english communication skills you need to communicate with native english speakers on a consistent basis, period. Read newspapers like the economist, wall street journal. You should also start getting into the habit of reading books. Observe the native english speakers and try to emulate some of the mannerisms which you find useful. Get into the habit of writing and maintaining a daily journal. Last but not least you might want to join an improv class or public speaking course.

    For good grammar and writing skills you might find this helpful...

    1 On Writing Well.( You can find a pdf online for free )
    2 Elements of style ( Shrunk & White )
    3 http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-girl
     
  8. Jun 3, 2014 #7
    Hello,

    I am a native speaker of English so I do not fully know your position. But I self-taught some Greek and studied English Linguistics for 2 years, including how people learn English as a second language.

    If I remember correctly, a native English speaker at university has about 25 000 'word families'. Think of a word family as a root word like 'eat', with relatives like 'eats, eating, eaten, ate' etc.

    A non-native English speaker at an English university has about 5 000 word families - this is all that is really needed to be able to be considered fluent. This is because most language uses very similar words over and over. For example, the majority of words in a textbook are the same as a textbook in another subject, and special technical words are not used so often.

    So, I would not worry too much about learning many new words but become very comfortable with the words you do know already, so maybe try and learn from different contexts.

    I would watch TV shows or films of different types whose language you can understand, in order to learn the words and sentences better, by learning their use in different contexts.

    Remember: it is almost always a sentence and not a word on its own that conveys meaning, and sentences depend on context.

    Good luck.

    P.S. If you only want to improve reading and handwriting, then my idea for films and TV shows is not very good!
     
  9. Jun 3, 2014 #8

    symbolipoint

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    Study English grammar. Find a book called something like, "A programmed textbook on English Grammar and Usage", or it may include in the title, "English 3200", written by someone called Blumenthal. You can later practice what you study through writing questions and responding to posts on physicsforums.
     
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